The Opportunities Party Clearwater Action Plan
THE OPPORTUNITIES PARTY
Clearwater Action Plan for Preserving And Enhancing New Zealand’s
New Zealand’s environment is at the very core of our economic and social wellbeing. Without total commitment to preserving and enhancing the environment we rely on for the bulk of our national income (agriculture and tourism) and our unparalleled quality of life we are lost.
Short-sighted governments past and present have ignored sustainability in the myopic pursuit of growth at all costs while our rivers have become clogged with pollution and our natural heritage degraded.
We squander the very lifeblood of our ecosystem by giving away water, virtually for free, to overseas companies, agriculture and industry.
The Clearwater Action Plan is a suite of fully researched, evidence based policies to stop the degradation of our environment so it can be handed on to future generations intact and if possible enhanced.
The goal is all New Zealand rivers will be swimmable, all ecosystems sustainable.
WATER IS A PUBLIC RESOURCE NOT A COMMERCIAL FREEBIE
We will protect civil society’s access to water for everyday human requirements, drinking, cooking and cleaning.
Beyond those requirements water consents will only be allocated if they are environmentally and socially sustainable. There will be no grand-parenting based on past usage.
Commercial users can opt to be consented users or remain non-consented. Consents for set periods will be auctioned and provide the holder priority but not exclusive access. In addition for commercial users (including hydro generators) there will be a per litre charge. The per litre price will be determined by the market so ensuring that the commercial allocation goes to the best economic use. Consent owners get first rights to the water at the market price.
The income from the consents and from the per litre charge will be used to establish regional Nature Improvement Funds (NIFs) which will allow Regional Councils to invest in a wide range of environmentally beneficial projects.
The Opportunities Party is the only party prepared to make commercial water users pay a market rate for this vital resource.
Water catchments will be assessed for the level of nitrate and other pollutants that the community and the taxpayer will tolerate. Businesses will have their pollutant contribution to the catchment measured. Those who are above the sustainable level will pay a penalty, those below will receive payment from the penalty pool.
Those who don’t pollute will become more profitable, the profitability of those who do will fall. The choice will be clear, clean up your act or face higher costs.
The Opportunities Party is the only party proposing a true polluter pays system.
Both National and Labour have refused to make meaningful progress on resolving the issue of water ownership. That failure is largely to blame for the mess we find ourselves in now.
The Opportunities Party will seek to settle these issues once and for all with due regard to the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi. This is a precondition for establishing a commercial model for water.
The Opportunities Party is alone in calling for a resolution of the water ownership issue.